May 16, 2016 4:05 pm
Updated: May 16, 2016 7:10 pm

Fort McMurray wildfire: Mounties secure city, prevent intruders from entering

WATCH ABOVE: While emergency crews are battling the flames in the Fort McMurray region, the RCMP also has a significant presence in the city. Julia Wong got a closer look at their base set up in the fire-ravaged community.

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Approximately 300 RCMP officers from coast to coast are keeping a police presence in Fort McMurray, as the region remains on a mandatory evacuation order.

The officers are involved with regular day-to-day policing duties in the community as well as the general investigations unit. RCMP service dog units and RCMP helicopters are also providing assistance.

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Most visibly to the public however, they are present at the blockades on the south and north ends of Fort McMurray and at various checkpoints throughout the community.

“From the beginning of the fire of course, we set up a perimeter to control the evacuated area, to ensure we don’t have people getting in to the location, individuals that shouldn’t be here,” Cpl. Dan Moskaluk with BC RCMP said.

“There has been restricted access that’s been granted throughout the course of this situation.”

READ MORE: RCMP say officers won’t enter Fort McMurray homes looking for guns

Moskaluk also said members are conducting patrols on foot, on ATVs and in vehicles.

“We have officers that are patrolling the unaffected neighbourhoods, maintaining security in those residential areas as well as the downtown core. We also have our members that are patrolling some of the urban park and wooded areas on ATVs, making sure any other access points are also being looked at.”

Moskaluk said he hopes the police presence is comforting to fire evacuees.

“We want to make sure the homeowners can have some peace of mind that we have a good presence here. We are doing our best to ensure their property’s safety and well being,” he said.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: Search these high-resolution satellite maps of the damage

Local officers have been relieved of duty and RCMP members from Newfoundland to B.C. are providing support.

“That can be ranging from IT support, information support, civilian members, logistics members, uniformed officers as well as several of our tactical teams that have experience in major-sized disasters,” Moskaluk said.

He said that pulling members from tactical units from across the country lessens the pain and the strain on all detachments.

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